https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature09440">
 

Title

Global threats to human water security and river biodiversity

Abstract

Protecting the world’s freshwater resources requires diagnosing threats over a broad range of scales, from global to local. Here we present the first worldwide synthesis to jointly consider human and biodiversity perspectives on water security using a spatial framework that quantifies multiple stressors and accounts for downstream impacts. We find that nearly 80% of the world’s population is exposed to high levels of threat to water security. Massive investment in water technology enables rich nations to offset high stressor levels without remedying their underlying causes, whereas less wealthy nations remain vulnerable. A similar lack of precautionary investment jeopardizes biodiversity, with habitats associated with 65% of continental discharge classified as moderately to highly threatened. The cumulative threat framework offers a tool for prioritizing policy and management responses to this crisis, and underscores the necessity of limiting threats at their source instead of through costly remediation of symptoms in order to assure global water security for both humans and freshwater biodiversity.

Publication Date

9-29-2010

Journal Title

Nature

Publisher

Springer Nature

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature09440

Document Type

Article

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